THE B.S.A. LIGHTNING. 650cc TWIN.FOUR STROKE.
The BSA Lightning is a British motorcycle made by BSA at their factory in Birmingham between 1965 and 1972.
The BSA Lightning was designed as the ‘all-round’ sportbike of the 1960s, planned largely for export to the US market to complement the touring BSA Thunderbolt and the supersports BSA Spitfire. Development of the engine aimed to make it more reliable, quieter and less prone to oil leaks, with top speed sacrificed to improve mid-range and rideability. With twin carburettors the A65L could still reach 108 mph (174 km/h), however. Improvements included an oil pressure warning light which had a tendency to malfunction, so riders learned to ignore it.
A close ratio gearbox combined with a high kick camshaft made for lively acceleration and performance at higher rpm than the standard A65. The bottom gear was a bit high, however, so riders had to learn to slip the clutch up to 10 mph (16 km/h). Above 5000 rpm customers also complained about excessive vibration, with a tendency to weave above 90 mph (140 km/h). A useful feature was an ’emergency starting’ key position for times when the battery was flat to connect the alternator current directly to the ignition coils.
In 1972 the BSA Group were in financial difficulties and in a last attempt to extend the brand life a new frame was developed for the A65L. As well raising the seat height to an impractical 33 inches (840 mm), it actually broke during testing at the MIRA test track, marking the end of one of the most successful range of British twin cylinder motorcycles.
201 750cc versions, designated the A70L, were also produced in 1971 for American racing homologation purposes.
Manufacturer United Kingdom BSA, Birmingham
Also called A65L
Engine 654 cc, OHV parallel twin
Top speed 110 mph (180 km/h)
Power 53 bhp (40 kW) @ 7,000 rpm
Transmission Four speed gearbox to chain final drive
Brakes drum brakes
Wheelbase 56 inches (1,400 mm)
Seat height 32.3 inches (820 mm)
Weight 395 lb (179 kg) (dry)
Tagged: , MOTORCYCLES , MOTORBIKES , CLASSICS , BRITISH